Keeping space

One Ring
One Ring (to bring them all). (Focal length 70mm, Shutter: 1/500, Aperture: f4.5)

One of the perils of working in your own home is that your workspace and the household’s space often blend and merge in ways that challenge the sanity and work habits of the occupants. I know some craftspeople manage to completely segregate their work and living quarters, but I’m just not one of those. I’m not sure that I want to be. I like spinning in the living room.

There’s also the issue of mental space. I feel strongly that mental and physical space are intimately connected. I believe that working through creative details on a project is infinitely more difficult when you don’t physically have anywhere to work that is dedicated to the task.

I get claustrophobic quite easily (I’m working on this – I want to scuba dive some day), so closing the door to my studio doesn’t give me the warm, fuzzy feeling of shutting the world out, but rather the cold, clammy feeling of panic that screams things like, “You’ll die in here!” or, “You REALLY have to pee. Then you need coffee. Then you should clean the bathroom. Or you could just OPEN THE DOOR, you nincompoop. (Note: My mental self can be a little abrasive to my mental self sometimes. I’m used to it.)”

So shutting myself in a box doesn’t work for me.

But open doors are dangerous things.

They allow for the passage of matter.

In both directions.

This means that my craft stuff drifts across the house, into the living room and kitchen, settling on flat spaces everywhere. It also means that household items gallop full-speed into my studio and keel off all over, draping the spinning wheel with dress pants and running gear and dumping boxes of Christmas décor all over the floor.

Mondays are, for me, days of reclaiming space. I put things back where they belong. I take my crap out of the living room and take the living room (or laundry room – why do people take their clothes off in here??) out of my studio.

Recently I bought several sets of white shelving for the studio.It was a real eye-opener to me to finally have places for everything. Do you know how much less cluttered rooms are when there are places???

Shelves, full of stuff.

My design boards often sit atop the white shelves, although if I felt the need, I could stack another set of units atop the extant ones.

I also painted a cabinet white (which also sealed the wood in, preventing the acidity of the wood from affecting the textiles therein).

Old cabinet, reclaimed for wool and fabrics. More shelves. Spool rack #1. Toolchest of fabric paint on floor. Little wooden man, bought in New Brunswick at a flea market, but originally from Bavaria, sits on shelf.

My bags of raw fibre are in the closet. I have a filing cabinet for papers and trays in which projects and their oft-itinerant bits are stored while in-progress.

But it was the extra shelves, all of the same sort, that made the difference. The space now feels organized and full, but not insanely and derangèdly cluttered and stuffed. The consistency of one type of shelving unit, in a neutral colour, makes it possible for this chaotic space to seem organized since it pulls all the disparate items together.

And speaking of pulling, I must haul that drum carder over to the work table. I have a project to finish!


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